Public Servant Jayne Plank — 1933-2023

A seventh-generation Washingtonian, Jayne Harper Plank, who spent a career in public service in local and federal government, died Feb. 23 at the age of 89. Wife of the late William H. Plank, Sr., she served as the mayor of Kensington, Maryland, and also served on the board of Tudor Place and was involved with the Citizens Association of Georgetown.

A Plank family home at 1404 35th Street, across from Saxby’s and Call Your Mother, is where one of her sons, Kevin Plank, founded the Under Armour sports apparel company in 1996 in the basement. It is now a $5-billion enterprise.

She did her undergraduate studies at George Washington University and her graduate studies at Georgetown University, while working for the National Security Agency.

Upon returning from overseas with her husband and family, Plank was elected to the Kensington, Maryland, Town Council in 1967 and served as a council member until 1974, when she was elected to the first of her four terms as mayor of Kensington. She was the first woman elected as mayor, as well as the first woman elected President of the Maryland Municipal League and the first woman to serve as the State of Maryland’s representative to the National League of Cities. 

In 1982, Plank was appointed Director of Intergovernmental Affairs of the U.S. Department of State by President Ronald Reagan, a position she held until 1987. She was also involved in Republican Party national political campaigns.

In 2016, she was recognized by Sister Cities International with its annual Diplomatic Leadership Award, honoring her career and commitment to building and maintaining international relationships.

Plank was active in historic preservation, philanthropic and civic organizations — including the Patriot Point, LLC Campaign Committee, the Yellow Ribbon Foundation and the Women’s Leadership Group of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.

She was the mother of William Holt Plank, Stuart M. Plank (Laura), John Scott Plank, Colin Harper Plank (Ronit) and Kevin Audette Plank (Desiree/“D.J.”), the grandmother of Jack, Casey, Eve, Jesse, Campbell, Talya, Aitan, James and Katherine and the sister of Peggy Defranceaux and Donna Miller.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held today at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kensington. Interment will be at Holy Rood Cemetery up 35th Street at 2126 Wisconsin Ave. N.W. at a later date. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *